Grasping a few key coffee-making principles and terms will dramatically lift the quality of your coffee. We help you unpack the jargon.
Know your A to Z of coffee
We’ve compiled this list following your questions and queries about coffee and coffee-making. It continues to be a work in progress, so if you require clarification, have questions or comments, please email us at .
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View Able Brewing products in the shop.
A brand and model of press coffee maker made by Aerobie, the frisbee people.
View the Aeropress in the shop
Coffea arabica is a species of coffea. Arabica is generally less disease resistant, has a lower yield and is more challenging to grow than the other widely commercially grown species of coffea, coffea canephora (aka robusta). With a more pleasant, fruity and, in general, more interesting flavour profile, arabica makes up the vast majority of speciality coffees, but is no guarantee of quality in and of itself.
A person who makes coffee. In common usage a trained, coffee-making professional. Not to be confused with a barrister.
The swelling of ground coffee when water is poured over the top, especially when making Pour Over or cupping. Is caused by the release of gases of the cellular structure of the coffee bean after the coffee is ground. Recently roasted and freshly ground coffee has more gas release, so the bloom is generally seen as a good thing.
The recipe for making coffee with a particular set of equipment. By measuring the dry mass of the coffee (the dose), the extracted mass of the coffee, and the time coffee and water are in contact, it is possible to determine the rate of extraction when making espresso. When brewing coffee, the brew ratio usually refers to the dry mass of the coffee, the mass of the water and the time.
Aka French Press.
An American brand of glass coffee makers celebrated for their distinctive shape and high quality.
View Chemex products in the shop.
It’s worth noting that the terms ‘coffee’ can refer to the plant, the fruit (the coffee cherry), green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, or the drink.
Coffea is a genus of flowering plants whose seeds, which come to be the coffee beans, are used to make coffee. The two commonly grown commercial species of coffea are coffea arabica and coffea canephora.
The foam that forms on the top of a freshly made espresso. A large volume of crema has traditionally seen as the sign of a good espresso, although this is not always the case.
A standardised method of preparing coffee, primarily for assessing its quality and flavour profile. The method is simple and straightforward; the key benefit is that growers, brokers, roasters, shops and consumers can all use the same method ensuring an accurate benchmark across the supply chain.
Freshly roasted coffee gives off carbon dioxide (CO₂) and is commonly left to de-gas before packing. All our coffees are packed in bags with a one way value so that the heavier carbon dioxide displaces oxygen (O₂) from the sealed bag, which has the effect of slowing oxidisation and prolonging the life of the coffee.
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The amount, usually measured in grams, of dry coffee used to make coffee in a brew ratio. Or as a verb, the act of weighing out a dry mass of coffee.
The method of making coffee by forcing hot water through ground coffee contained in a basket. Also refers to the drink made using this method. See Coffee Drink Nomenclature for information on various types of espresso drinks.
The machine used for making espresso.
View Espresso Machines in the shop.
Canadian coffee-focused designer and manufacturer who specialise is using technologies and industrial design to improve the quality of coffee-making.
View Espro products in the shop.
View Espro Presses in shop
The process of mixing water with ground coffee so that the gases and solubles combine with the water to create coffee. Often referred to in the context of the quality of the extraction.
In the context of a drink it means coffee that has been brewed, as primarily opposed to espresso. Also refers to brewing method categories, such as Pour Over, as well as to the actual filtering membrane.
A style of brewing coffee maker, where coffee is steeped in water before a filter mechanism to passed down the cylinder to push the grounds to the bottom and to leave brewed coffee ready to serve. Aka Cafetière and Plunger.
Consumer brand of environmentally-focused, specialist coffee-equipment cleaning products for use at home. Owned by the coffee-making equipment cleaning specialists Urnex.
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The process of breaking down roasted coffee beans into small, more readily soluble granules, called grounds, for emersion in water to make coffee. To fine the grind is to reduce the particle size to increase extraction, while to coarsen the grind is to increase the particle size to reduce the extraction.
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Ground coffee ready for making into a coffee beverage. Spent grounds are ground coffee granules that have been used for making coffee and are now ready for discarding.
Japanese specialist glass manufacturers, who are also a market leader in coffee-making equipment.
Find out more about Hario
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A style of coffee preparation where water from melting ice is passed through a bed of ground coffee to make a coffee beverage. Because the temperature of the water is cool, a prolonged contact time is required to ensure adequate extraction. Can also refer to methods where the coffee is prepared either hot or at ambient temperature and then cooled with ice.
See milk jug.
Japanese brand of coffee-making equipment that specialists in Pour Over equipment.
View Kalita coffee-making equipment
View the Able Kone for Chemex
The creation of images and patterns on the surface of espresso drinks by pouring stretched milk poured through the surface of the espresso.
German brand of grinders with a line of specialist coffee grinders for both commercial and consumer markets.
Receptacle, commonly made from stainless steel, in which cold milk is heated and aerated when preparing milk for pouring over espresso to create espresso-based milk drinks. The creation of images and patterns for the pouring of milk is called Latte Art. See Coffee Drink Nomenclature for information on various types of espresso drinks.
Italian specialist stainless steel fabricators, with a specialist line of milk jugs.
See Motta products in the shop
Harvested coffee cherries are dried, commonly on terraces or raised tables, before the cherry’s flesh is removed. The term covers a wide variety of national and local techniques, but the result is often sweeter and sometimes more complex flavour. cf. Wet Processed.
A coffee making process that has taken out too many oils and soluables from the coffee grounds, typically resulting in a bitter taste. cf. under extracted. Is usually resolved by reducing the dose or coarsening the grind to shorten the brewing time.
Spanish designer and manufacturer of coffee equipment cleaning tools.
View Pällo products in the shop.
Aka French Press.
The coffee-making method where water is poured over ground coffee, usually in a Dripper containing a filter paper, and is allowed to pass through under the force of gravity. The measurement of the dry coffee, amount of water and the time that they are in contact is called the brew ratio.
Brand of commercially-focused coffee-equipment cleaning products. Owned by Urnex.
View Puro cleaning products.
We talk about making quality coffee for the sake of clarity. We form part of the speciality coffee sector.
A species of commercially grown coffea which originated in Ethiopia and is now cultivated throughout the coffee growing regions of the world. It is more hardy and has a higher yield than the other main species of commercially grown coffee, arabica. Robusta has a reputation for having a flat, muddy flavour profile. While this is not always the case, it is commonly so. Consequently crops of arabica make up the vast majority of the global speciality coffee production.
Espresso machine manufacturer based in Milan, Italy renowned for its specialist domestic espresso machines.
Find out more about Rocket Espresso.
View Rocket Espresso products in the shop.
The speed with which water steeps with the soluble parts of ground coffee. Is primarily determined by the rate with which the water passes through a bed of coffee or the size of the grounds. Also read Brew Ratio.
The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe defines speciality coffee as “a crafted quality coffee-based beverage, which is judged by the consumer (in a limited marketplace at a given time) to have a unique quality, a distinct taste and personality different from, and superior to, the common coffee beverages offered. The beverage is based on beans that have been grown in an accurately defined area, and which meet the highest standards for green coffee and for its roasting, storage and brewing.” Because this means little to most consumers, we talk about ourselves as serving quality coffee.
An Italian method of making coffee on a hob. Traditionally popular has the brew can have an espresso-like viscosity.
See Syphon coffee makers in the shop
A coffee-making process that has taken out too few oils and solubles from the coffee grounds, typically resulting in a sour taste. cf. over extracted. Is usually resolved by increasing the dose and/or fining the grind to lengthen the brewing time.
Harvested coffee cherries are processed – typically in a washing process – before drying. A more recent coffee processing method. cf. Natural Processed. The term covers a variety of national and local techniques, but the result is often a more acidic, tighter flavour with greater clarity.
Common name for the Hario Drip Pot, which has a wooden collar so that the glass unit can be handled while hot.
A measure of farm productivity. The quantity of coffee cherries are measured. Usually recorded in Kg per plant or per m².
Japanese crockery producer who specialise in high-quality, stoneware crockery and are based in the Mino region, where pottery has been produced for over 1,200 years.